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What is a site engineer?
A site engineer is the professional who provides technical advice and organizes and supervises construction projects. The calling is similar to that of a construction manager, as both professions manage construction project packages, supervise staff, and provide technical expertise and onsite support as needed.
What is onsite support?
Providing onsite support is one of the most important roles of a site engineer. Engineering projects are complex and call for inter-disciplinary approach, that’s no brainer. Yet, it is always the engineer on site who is called upon when something goes wrong.
That many things may go wrong is not surprising even to the less informed. Engineering projects are being revised on a daily basis, with lengthy consultations taking place behind the scenes. More often than not, the issue of costs is the dividing line, as any redoing of plans involves large groups of professionals.
However, field engineers never lose sight of their role, and they are indeed capable of solving even the most mysterious of issues in a surprisingly skilful way. How do they do it?
That is rather the main question here, isn’t it? Site engineers come from all walks of life. It is rather rare not to see a field engineer specializing in more than one subject. With the range of specializations being rich, to put it mildly, every field engineer can choose exactly what they want.
As a matter of fact, the most striking difference between site managers and site engineers is that the latter have more specific technical expertise. Field engineers normally hold a degree at civil, geotechnical, structural, building, electrical, or mechanical engineering. That’s a whole lot of branches there. Exactly due to their skill sets, site engineers perform a wide array of tasks and are expected to be capable of dealing with all kinds of unforeseen situations.
Core competencies of a site engineer
Simply put, the main task of site engineers is – overseeing pretty much everything during the construction process. The second most important task would be – setting up, again, pretty much everything. More specifically, the usual competencies required of a field engineer, as specified by leaders in the field, include:
- Managing packages (parts of construction projects);
- Overseeing building work;
- Supervising contractors;
- Staking out sites;
- Organizing facilities;
- Undertaking surveys;
- Ensuring that projects meet target specifications, timelines, and budget;
- Inspecting technical designs and drawings;
- Making certain that technical designs and drawings are being followed to the letter;
- Providing technical expertise and advice when problems occur;
- Collaborating with subcontractors and clients;
- Collaborating with the project manager and quantity surveyors (negotiating the price of materials included);
- Seeing to that health and safety regulations are being adhered to;
- Preparing site reports;
- Preparing all other necessary paperwork.
On top of demonstrating excessive technical knowledge and providing advice across the board, a site engineer is also expected to possess/develop a number of personal qualities. First of all, since the position implies communication with all kinds of people, a field engineer must demonstrate above average interpersonal skills. The ability to communicate information clearly even to less technically knowledgeable parties is also essential.
Further out, in order to prevent potential issues before they even manage to present themselves, a site engineer needs to have an eye for detail and exquisite problem solving skills. Finally, commercial awareness is also crucial, as site engineers suggest changes and issue revised orders in that regard.
Full-time vs. freelance site engineering
Engineering projects come in all shapes and sizes, and we don’t mean only site engineering. The vocation is genuinely mobile in its nature, and as such allows for diverse choices in terms of job types. Traditional engineering may take three basic forms: working with a single company full-time, working as a consulting engineer, and working as a freelance engineer.
Of the three, the latter is deemed most beneficial by the greatest number of professionals. Per-project basis work allows for better time management and greater professional satisfaction. These types of jobs are to be obtained through two sources: consulting engineering companies and online.
Remote engineering has gained popularity for years, and especially in the IT sector. Computer engineers are among the most sought out professionals; software engineering, in particular, has turned out to be better performed remotely than at the office. Firstly, such a prospect allows for far less costly logistics, and secondly, the offer is global.
Freelance IT jobs are omnipresent. Via online job-seeking platforms or via local advertising, skilled computer professionals may easily find themselves employed by industry giants abroad… or locally… or wherever they want, literally.
What about other engineering branches? Fortunately, they haven’t been forgotten either. A number of online engineering platforms has emerged, the best rated of which is Field Engineer (FE). FE was launched by engineers for engineers. It lists skilled engineers and employers on five continents. Their pool of skilled professionals has already surpassed the number of 15,000, and there is no reason why any engineer who means business shouldn’t add their name to the list.
At a glance, FE is a fully automated online marketplace, connecting the right professionals with the right employers globally. Engineers only need sign up, upload their credentials, and specify their skill set to start getting daily job alerts. All negotiations are up to the contracted parties, with the platform not interfering in any way. FE payments are being released immediately upon project completion.
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